Karl Henry: Try the colour switch challenge - less white, more brown
And breathe! Tomorrow is the first of February. You have survived the month where so many fall off the wagon. You are taking your health more seriously this year, taking each week at a time, putting in the ground work and now you are beginning to reap the benefits.
For the next two weeks, I want us to take a look at your diet. Don't worry, I'm not going to recommend that you eliminate a whole category of nutrients or go on a juice detox.
Instead, I will give you some simple principles that will actually make a huge difference to your health, your weight and your mood.
The simpler I can make it, the more likely you will do it and gain all of the benefits.
Here is my favourite principle for improving your diet: If you can change the colour of what you're eating from white processed foods to brown wholegrain foods then you will be well on your way to a healthier diet. How easy is that? Brown foods are full of minerals, vitamins and fibre and are generally less processed.
The big four are:
* Switchwhite bread to brown bread
* White pasta to brown pasta
* White rice to brown rice
* White cereals to brown cereals or porridge
These four foods tend to be the staples of the Irish diet, and if you can make the switch you will notice improvements really quickly.
If you don't believe me, then why not try it for seven days and see what happens?
Measure something at the start, such as waistline or weight, and then do it again seven days later. You will see a difference.
Dietary recommendations can be so complicated and confusing, with recipes that confuse you. This simple swap debunks all of that in a really easy way so try the colour switch challenge and let's see what happens to your health.
Week 4 to-do list:
* Get your weekly food shop done
* Aim to integrate exercise into your day, in any way possible
* Cook at least three meals from scratch
* Make sure to complete at least one resistance session
Health tip of the week:
Remember every pound of fat that you lose off your body is actually 3,500 calories of energy. This is so important to remember as 1lb is actually a huge amount of calories, if you can lose that each week that's the equivalent to 4lbs per month or 52lbs a year.
Week 4 exercise: the glute bridge
This is one of my favourite exercises for working the bum muscles which can be so important.
Here's what you need to do:
1. Start by lying on the floor on your back.
2. Now bend your knees, bring your feet shoulder width apart and place your hands down by your side.
3. Push your pelvis up to the ceiling and ensure to squeeze your bum in the process. Then return to the floor.
4. Repeat for 30 reps and then take a break. Aim to complete three sets altogether.
Recipe of the week: Super-quick breakfast smoothie
100ml organic milk
1 pear, ideally soft
1 small apple
1 handful of kale
2 tablespoons of organic jumbo porridge oats
3 thinly sliced pieces of ginger, diced
1/2 teaspoon of honey
This smoothie couldn't be easier, and unlike shop-bought smoothies, it isn't packed with artificial sugars and flavourings - it's all natural.
Simply add all of your ingredients together into a blender and blend until smooth.
If you like, you can also add a scoop of protein powder, just be sure to aim for one with a low sugar content - remember that four grams of sugar is the equivalent of a teaspoon.